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Press Release
September 20, 2011
Last Viet Nam War-era Oregon Guard Aviation Chief Warrant Officer retires
 
The last Viet Nam War-era aviation Chief Warrant Officer retired from the Oregon Army National Guard, during a ceremony held at Heritage Park, in Salem, Ore., Sept. 20.
 
Chief Warrant Officer-5 Marco Frye, who served 42 years in the military-more than 35 years of those in the Oregon Army National Guard-was honored for his service and sacrifice in a ceremony attended by Oregon National Guard leadership, coworkers, family and friends.
 
Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, Adjutant General, Oregon, said the state of Oregon and the country are indebted to Frye's contributions.
 
"Be it as an instructor pilot, or on the front lines, Frye has done so much for our state and nation," Rees said.
 
Frye served as an AH-1 Cobra pilot during the Viet Nam War.  During one campaign in Laos, Frye's unit lost over 600 aircraft.
 
"In all those cockpits were friends, coworkers, patriots," Frye said.  "I miss them."
 
Due to his military service, he missed a number of special occasions with his family, including the birth of his daughter, Markie, he said.
 
"For me to tell my daughter I missed her birth, I'm actually blessed to be able to say that to her," he said, referring to fellow service members who died in Viet Nam.  "These guys can't say that."
 
After completing his tour of duty in Viet Nam, Frye separated from the active duty Army to finish his degree at Portland State University.
 
He joined the Oregon Army National Guard in 1975, and found himself working alongside B-17 pilots who had served in WWII.  He watched as the last of their group retired from the ranks of the Oregon Guard and began wondering about his own career, Frye said.
 
"You always wonder who is going to be the last, and it turned out to me," Frye said.
 
Over the course of 35 years in the Oregon National Guard, Frye was stationed at both the Pendleton and Salem Aviation Support Facilities as a full-time instructor pilot.  He was credited with completing approximately 9,500 hours of incident-free flying, and made safety a priority. 
 
"We teach (new pilots) how to manage risk and bring the resource back to the Army and the humans back to their families," he said.
 
While serving with the Oregon Guard, Frye has seen duty in both Iraq and Turkey.  He called the recognition during the retirement ceremony remarkable.
 
"I'm extremely proud to have served my constitution and the state of Oregon, and blessed that I was able to reach the end and stand here and thank everyone," Frye added.
 
Frye has received the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, four Air Medals for Valor, 17 Air Medals, the Bronze Star for Valor, the Oregon National Guard Exceptional Service Medal with Gold Star, the Humanitarian Service Medal, among other awards.

 
He has also received the Viet Nam Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star and the Viet Nam Gallantry Cross with Palm Leaf.
 
 
Photo Captions:
 
110920-A-9578-G-002: Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, Adjutant General, Oregon, bestows the Legion of Merit to Chief Warrant Officer 5 Marco Frye, at Frye's retirement ceremony, held at Heritage Park, in Salem, Ore., Sept. 20.  Frye served 42 years in the military, including a tour in Viet Nam, where he piloted AH-1 Cobra helicopters.  During his tenure with the Oregon National Guard, Frye attained the highest rank as a Chief Warrant Officer.  (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Cory Grogan, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs).
 
110920-A-9578-G-001: Chief Warrant Officer 5 Marco Frye, (right), and his son Taylor, pictured together following the elder Frye's retirement ceremony, held at Heritage Park, in Salem, Ore., Sept. 20.  Frye served 42 years in the military, including a tour in Viet Nam, where he piloted AH-1 Cobra helicopters.  During his tenure with the Oregon National Guard, Frye attained the highest rank as a Chief Warrant Officer.  (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Cory Grogan, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs).
 
 
Contact Info: Oregon Military Department Public Affairs: 503-584-3887.